Ted's Tuna Tips
Fishing for Albacore Tuna is Hard-core to say the least. It may require up to four hours of motoring to get into fish and knowing what to do once you get there is a big part of getting BIG SCORES! It may be the most fun fishing you've ever had!
The following tips are a culmination of information derived from the Tuna Fishing Board for HalfMoon Bay, Monterey and San Francisco, California. The posters to this board should be recognized as true experts - when you see them please thank them for their advice!
|General Fishing Techniques||Strategy/Planning your Trip|
I posed the following question to the Tuna Board:
We trolled around the same area as The Fishing Machine all
day Tues. but with much less luck. After a score of 19 fish on Sunday, we
thought we knew what we were doing. After only catching 9 fish yesterday
(Tues.), I think I need some help! We were running various color feathers pretty
much all day at 7-8kts. One fisherman onboard was using a lighter tackle and
dragged a blue/white Rapala behind the 2nd wake. He actually got 2 hookups like
this - leading me to believe we were probably fishing the wrong colors, speed or
perhaps should have been doing something completely different. We seemed to get
hits on white and Mexican flags. We switched to all darker colors at 4pm Is it
possible to troll with large FishTraps?
Also, my fishfinder is on the blink. If we're in the area, is this even a necessity if I want really big scores?
Happy to share any knowledge we can learn.
We monitored several channels (10, 18, 19) and will do so on the next trip. Please feel free to say hello.
|Name: Fishing Machine
Date: 7/11/2001 7:56:15 PM
Ted people put to much emphasis on color, how they run, where they run, weight of head, outrigger position, how to get school up, every day the window will open when you can really due some damage, it may only stay open 1 hour or all day but during that time period you have to have your program dialed in. For several years now i only run 2 color, never change, just run them right, sometimes i wish the old tuna bible, dark in the morning etc would get re written, maybe if you like sometime will meet for lunch on beach and talk Tuna.
take care Bob Franko
Subject: SST's and strategy....
Date: 7/11/2001 6:53:00 PM
#1 Open the following chart: http://188.8.131.52/products/OFA/epdofa.gif
#2 Note the horse head formation on the temperature chart... the vortex of the triangle is located at approximately 37:15 and 122:50.
#3 note the temperature line, there are two paths to troll, one is s/e and n/w line as you move s/e from the vortex (head of the horse), the other is a s s/w line to n n/e as you move s/w away from the vortex.
If you have read the material on this site, you already know these fish like the temperature breaks, especially early in the season.
I'm not fishing tomorrow, but based on this chart, I would proceed to the above numbers and drop them in.
Good luck to all... Capn Tom on the Laura.. OUT
Over the years, I found that a slower troll seems to hook up more than a faster troll. As a result, I usually troll at 1900 - 2300 RPMs on each engine, which pushes us along at 5 - 7 knots. Yesterday, we tried all kinds of speed, but all of our hook ups came at 2000 RPMs, or about 5/6 knots. We all have our little "secrets", but I guess that's my 2 cents. The other might be that I don't think color is always that important. Some days, it's size, others just dark, or light patterns, or real close to the boat, or far away. Bob's been a great tuna hunter for years and is a great source of information.
Date: 7/11/2001 2:25:41 PM
This year the tuna have been biting either really close to the boat 25-50' back or really far back 200'+. Most years I find about 75'-80' back to work well but not this year. I also trim the outdrive up to make a bigger wake when trolling during a tough pick and that seems to help. You can troll the Fishtraps I rig them with a swivel to reduce line twist. I like to run the traps right off the transom with release clips that are attached on a nylon rope strung across. I know other boaters that will attach the clips to the swim step if you have one of those.
Name: Deadly #2
Subject: General Fishing Methods
Date: 7/11/2001 5:21:14 PM
Every individual has their own "method" that works. I'll share mine with you.
When trolling, I always keep in mind that the fish are attracted to a few things: prop wash, engine noise, bubbles & splashes. I try to exploit all of these. I figure the more raucous and friction I cause the greater the likely hood of the fish "zeroing in" on my boat. I would agree that an ideal speed is around 5-8 kts. , pending on the sea conditions.
I always run the typical stuff: cedar plugs, zukers, jetheads and fishtraps. After experimenting with fishtraps on the troll, I've found this to be one of the most effective lures in the spread. There's a method on how to troll with the FT's. Typically they will just bounce around in the wake,tangling up the other lines.
If you're going to troll a trap, run it deep down the middle of the spread. Keep your rod tip up, straight up. This will keep your line away from the others,it also puts more vertical pressure on the trap when running just under the surface. This in turn keeps the trap running in a straight line behind the spread. One other key element, make sure that you've attached the FT on the lead head straight. If you attach the body on at a slight angle, it will make the traps swim to either the left or right....you want it to swim straight. Also pay close attention to what colors are getting bit, if you have a FT in that color...put it on. Anyhow, I hope this helps....and good luck.
***The 2 1/2 oz. leadhead or greater, typically the stays down the best. Anything else is too light and will bounce around.
Go get um!!!
Name: Deadly Dave
Subject: Basic Trolling
Date: 7/11/2001 6:30:08 PM
When you're trolling and the boat is moving the wake attracts the fish and excites them. When you cut the engine and the wake disappears they become cautious. Commercial trollers keep the fish excited by continuously running . They just bring the fish in and keep throwing the jigs back in to get hit over and over and over. That's what 'meatlines' are for. However, I'm sure you're in it for the sport and not just big counts.
Party boats will try to 'load up' on troll fish early in the season when the fish won't eat bait as readily. Some of them do this by continuing running after the first jig strike. They usually run in a semi-circle until they get 2 or 3 fish on. They do this to minimize tangles. However, it causes slack to form and fish are lost due to this sometimes.
Private boats 'load up' by running straight for another 10-15 sec (or longer). Remember that the troll fish has the school coming behind it in most cases. If they see something to eat they will hit it. You've got to have something for them to eat! Chumming gives them a reason to follow your boat. Cut up bait works when they're hungry. Sliding a Fish Trap or a dead bait rig into the chumline produces pleasant surprises sometimes.
Name: Tim Steele
Subject: 7/7 report and drag settings
Date: 7/11/2001 3:03:43 PM
My friend Tom & I went out of Santa Cruz on Saturday and had 10 nice fish, most of them 20 - 30 pounds. I had my drags set at 25% of strike on a 30lb. and 50lb. setup, but Tom told me they were too tight and would lose fish that way. Sure enough, 5 minutes later we have a triple and the one on my rod pops off after a few seconds. I loosened both my drags and landed fish the rest of the day without losing any other hookups. Do all of you set your drags at 25 - 30% of line rating, or is that only when trolling for bigger fish later in the year or for bluefin? All comments, suggestions, and opinions welcome. Thanks! TS.
Subject: re: drags
We try to keep the drags decidedly on the light side, especially when trolling tuna. Clickers on; always with rod keepers. Hard strikes need to be able to run. Easier to tighten up later. If a strike can break a line, it's gotta be too tight. Check the lines for nicks and abrasions.
Subject: TUNA LURE??????
Date: 7/10/2001 3:08:58 PM
WOULD SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT IS A "FISH TRAP" LURE ? AND MOST
IMPORTANT WHO IS THE MANUFACTURE. LIVING HERE IN THE SALMON FISHING
CAPITOL (SOUTHERN OREGON) IT IS DIFFICULT TO BUY THE RIGHT LURES AND
NEWEST LURES. ANY HELP WOULD BE GREAT APPRECIATED. WE HERE IN THE
BROOKINGS-HARBOR AREA HAVE HIGH HOPES THAT WE WILL BE FISHING FOR THE
GREATEST OF ALL SPORT FISH ,ALBACORE, SOME TIME SOON.
WHEN WE GET INTO THEM I'LL SEND YOU A REPORT.
THANKS FOR YOUR HELP.
Date: 7/10/2001 3:34:46 PM
Fish Trap is the manufacture along with others. It is know as swim bait, shad body and so on. It's a soft plastic shaped like a bait fish that comes in many colors It slides on to a lead head jig Or in to a Rotory Salmon killer fish love them.
Date: 7/10/2001 6:48:22 PM
A lot of my friends have been using swim baits made by Tomcod Tackle. Jeff Warner makes the baits himself, by hand and they're cheaper than FishTraps and the quality is better. He'll do custom colors, rattles or anything else you can dream up - no problem. Jeff is a Northern California salmon and albacore fisherman, and he knows what works in this area. He's designed some custom colors that are much better around here (Bay Area) than the available FishTrap colors.
Nothing wrong with FishTraps, it's just that Jeff's are better and cheaper.
All the best,